What can I say about the Equinox? Breathtakingly beautiful! Our first impression when we saw the ship was Wow! And this impression was never diminished by anything we found on board.
We flew from Glasgow to Rome via London without incident. Our only complaint - British Airways food. Not a bad breakfast between Glasgow and London but a pathetic sandwich for lunch on the Rome flight and no hot drinks as their hot water supply had failed!
We were met at the airport in the baggage reclaim hall by the Celebrity rep and escorted to a mini bus which took us and another couple to Rome for an overnight stay in the Crown Plaza, St Peter's. The hotel couldn't seem to find our reservation and asked us to go to the Celebrity desk. The rep there had a note of our booking and after a bit of a wait we were directed to our room. Unfortunately the room smelled strongly of cigarette smoke but as we knew the hotel was full we didn't ask for another room, as we would normally have done in those circumstances. The room was fine but more 4 star than the 5 star plus hotel rating, However the hotel had a lovely outdoor pool where we enjoyed an early evening swim. We chose to eat in a nearby restaurant that evening as the hotel menu didn't appeal and was very expensive. The restaurant was great. The buffet breakfast in the hotel the next day was very good.
Transfer by coach to the ship the next morning went very smoothly and efficiently as did the embarkation process.
We were delighted with our stateroom. It was much bigger than I expected. Bigger than the hotel room in Rome! We were pleased to find that the balcony was above average size for its class as it was on the sloping bit near the central elevators. It was also nice and sheltered which is what I'd hoped for when I chose that stateroom. It was very quiet too and had an uninterrupted view. We would definitely go for a room in that location again. Our bed was next to the window but I worked out that alternate rooms have the bed next the wardrobe. The only potential problem I foresee with this would be that the air conditioning vent would then be very near the bed. You couldn't switch off the air conditioning that we could see anyway! Only adjust temperature. My husband did find the dry air caused him discomfort so we tended to open the balcony doors at night to let moister air in and that solved the problem.
The ship was beautiful. Spotlessly clean, stylish and spacious. We particularly loved the Solarium with its adult only pool, very comfy sunbeds and tranquil temperature controlled serenity. Also loved the aqua cafe with its alternative healthy option snacks. Tapas sized portions of sushi, salmon and vegetarian plates. Just right for a light lunch between breakfast and afternoon tea with miniature sandwiches, scones,cream and jam! We were amazed at the overall quality of the food. We ate in the main dining room at night as we prefer to be served. The food quality and variety were amazing. The steaks came exactly as ordered and beautifully tender, Oysters lobster and scallops on the menu were an unexpected treat. The service was excellent and most attentive and friendly. We had booked select dining and had reserved a table for two for 7.30 for the first night. This worked well with the time of the theatre show and we the tried to book that time for the rest of the cruise, only to find that it was fully booked between 7 and 8 pm. We subsequently made reservations for 6.45pm which was a little early for us but worked fine with the theatre. In future I would book times for each night before sailing. There was never any problem getting a table for two.
We occasionally used the Ocean view cafe (buffet restaurant) for breakfast and lunch times and the selection and quality of the food was first class. We had the best French bread on the ship outside of France. Apparently they have a French pastry chef who taught the baker, who is from Jamaica, how to make French Bread - he did a great job!
We enjoyed room service cooked breakfasts on our balcony several times and it always arrived punctually and piping hot. Our steward was very attentive and friendly and he and the assistant steward kept the cabin beautifully.
The quality and variety of entertainment both in the theatre and in the various other venues was of a very high standard.
We did two half day excursions. One to Ephesus and the other to Sorrento. The guides were very knowledgeable though there was a problem with the p.a.system on the Ephesus coach. We also did an independent tour of Athens on the "Hop on Hop off" bus which through my pre-cruise Internet research, I discovered left from near the port entrance. It was very comprehensive and very cheap compared to organised excursions. As it was very warm and generally very crowded at the excursion venues, we always looked forward to getting back to the peace and tranquillity of the ship. For major sightseeing we would go at a cooler time of year in the future.
The activity programme on board was very comprehensive and I felt guilty in not participating very much. Couldn't drag myself away from the solarium! Will definitely make more effort next time!
The disembarkation process was flawless. We were assigned to group 31 that was to meet in the dining room. I was expecting to wait around for some time, so was amazed that on arrival there we were told that we could proceed to the gangway immediately. Our luggage (previously labeled with a group 31 tag and collected from outside our cabin the previous night) was waiting for us under the number 31 sign in the baggage reclaim hall on the quay side. Amazingly efficient organisation!
We were then transported by coach to the airport in good time for our flight home.
The whole cruise was a slick, efficient, friendly amazing experience that I can't wait to repeat. I can't recommend this cruise enough. Celebrity Equinox we love you!!